Lions of lyon: journey’s end


The Lions of Lyon have arrived at our big cat sanctuary in South Africa! Born Free’s Beth Brooks updates on their journey

It’s been an eventful 48 hours for the Lions of Lyon. Horus, Dadou, Cersei and Thea have crossed continents and travelled 9,000 miles to their lifetime home at Born Free’s big cat sanctuary at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, in South Africa.

Born Free’s Animal Rescue & Care team has been carefully monitoring and checking on the health and welfare of the cubs every step of the way, and for such a long journey, the cubs travelled exceptionally well.

After an 11-hour flight from London Heathrow to Johannesburg – a journey that would tax any human, let alone a lion – the cubs were calm and coped incredibly well. Thea, despite being the smallest and youngest of the four cubs, was especially vocal and keen to reunite with the others. It was a great sign ahead of their next internal flight to Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

The Born Free South Africa team met everyone at Port Elizabeth airport to watch the emotional moment the Lions of Lyon’s final flight touched down. The cubs were then carefully loaded for their short journey by road to Shamwari. 

It was a race against the sunset, but the team made it in time to settle the cubs into their night house. Tomorrow morning, all being well, they will be introduced to their main enclosure. That moment will be incredibly special. We’ve been working towards this for many, many months. And their first steps into their new home will mark the start of a brand new life – one they so thoroughly deserve, having started their lives in such awful circumstances.

You can follow the Lions of Lyon’s journey to South Africa! We’ll be posting regular updates on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, and a daily blog!

©Filip Fortuna/BFF